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Another woman is now in charge of a top City law firm

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Ascent of Berwin Leighton Paisner’s Lisa Mayhew offers hope to female corporate lawyers

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The number of female leaders at top City law firms has risen again today after Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) elected Lisa Mayhew as their new leader.

Mayhew, who has headed the firm’s employment practice since 2013, joins Herbert Smith Freehills‘ joint chief executive Sonya Leydecker, and CMS Cameron McKenna and Addleshaw Goddard senior partners Penelope Warne and Monica Burch.

Further down the ranks, Withers and Trowers & Hamlins are also led by women. Margaret Robertson is managing director of Withers and Jennie Gubbins is senior partner of Trowers.

The news comes after Mayhew won a contested battle with corporate partner David Collins to become firm top dog — which insiders billed as a “battle of old BLP versus new BLP”. Incumbent managing partner Neville Eisenberg will now step down after 16 years in the role.

Following the announcement, Mayhew commented:

“BLP has come a really long way in a relatively short space of time. We’re a progressive and ambitious firm and everyone recognises that a change in leadership creates opportunity to drive positive change.”

Currently, as charted in the Legal Cheek Most List, 24% of BLP’s UK partners are women. Herbies has 16% UK female partners, CMS 29% and Addleshaw 22%.

BLP and Herbies have both set targets to increase women partner numbers to 30% by 2018-19.

Which firm has the highest proportion of women associates and partners? Check out the Legal Cheek Top 60 Firms ‘Most’ List and accompanying firm profiles.

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